Saturday, June 30, 2018

Does Partisan Self-interest Dictate Support for Election Reform? It Does. Experimental Evidence on the Willingness of Citizens to Alter the Costs of Voting for Electoral Gain

Does Partisan Self-interest Dictate Support for Election Reform? Experimental Evidence on the Willingness of Citizens to Alter the Costs of Voting for Electoral Gain. Daniel R. Biggers. Political Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11109-018-9481-5

Abstract: Elite support for modifying electoral institutions and policies generally depends on whether a proposed change is expected to improve their party’s electoral prospects. Prior studies suggest that the average citizen evaluates potential reforms in a similar manner, but they fail to directly demonstrate that individuals actually consider their partisan self-interest when forming policy preferences. I address this limitation through two survey experiments that manipulate the specific group for whom reforms make voting more or less difficult. The results provide strong causal evidence that individuals update their attitudes as expected in response to that information. Members of both parties consistently express greater support for changes when framed as advancing their party’s electoral prospects than when characterized as benefiting their opponents. The findings have important implications for the constraints faced by political actors in gaming the electoral system in their favor and for understanding the role of self-interest in shaping policy attitudes.

Recent findings from both human neuroimaging and animal electrophysiology have revealed that prior expectations can either damp the sensory representation or enhance it via a process of sharpening.

How Do Expectations Shape Perception? Floris P. de Lange, Micha Heilbron, Peter Kok. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2018.06.002

Highlights

Expectations play a strong role in determining the way we perceive the world.

Prior expectations can originate from multiple sources of information, and correspondingly have different neural sources, depending on where in the brain the relevant prior knowledge is stored.

Recent findings from both human neuroimaging and animal electrophysiology have revealed that prior expectations can modulate sensory processing at both early and late stages, and both before and after stimulus onset. The response modulation can take the form of either dampening the sensory representation or enhancing it via a process of sharpening.

Theoretical computational frameworks of neural sensory processing aim to explain how the probabilistic integration of prior expectations and sensory inputs results in perception.

Abstract: Perception and perceptual decision-making are strongly facilitated by prior knowledge about the probabilistic structure of the world. While the computational benefits of using prior expectation in perception are clear, there are myriad ways in which this computation can be realized. We review here recent advances in our understanding of the neural sources and targets of expectations in perception. Furthermore, we discuss Bayesian theories of perception that prescribe how an agent should integrate prior knowledge and sensory information, and investigate how current and future empirical data can inform and constrain computational frameworks that implement such probabilistic integration in perception.

Keywords: prediction; perception; sensory processing; Bayesian inference; predictive coding; perceptual inference

Benevolent Sexism and Mate Preferences: Why Do Women Prefer Benevolent Men Despite Recognizing That They Can Be Undermining?

Benevolent Sexism and Mate Preferences: Why Do Women Prefer Benevolent Men Despite Recognizing That They Can Be Undermining? Pelin Gul et al. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167218781000

Abstract: Benevolent sexism (BS) has detrimental effects on women, yet women prefer men with BS attitudes over those without. The predominant explanation for this paradox is that women respond to the superficially positive appearance of BS without being aware of its subtly harmful effects. We propose an alternative explanation drawn from evolutionary and sociocultural theories on mate preferences: Women find BS men attractive because BS attitudes and behaviors signal that a man is willing to invest. Five studies showed that women prefer men with BS attitudes (Studies 1a, 1b, and 3) and behaviors (Studies 2a and 2b), especially in mating contexts, because BS mates are perceived as willing to invest (protect, provide, and commit). Women preferred BS men despite also perceiving them as patronizing and undermining. These findings extend understanding of women’s motives for endorsing BS and suggest that women prefer BS men despite having awareness of the harmful consequences.

Keywords: benevolent sexism, mate preferences, romantic relationships, social role theory, parental investment theory

h/t: Rolf Degen https://twitter.com/DegenRolf

Sexual identities & participation in liberal & conservative social movements: the greater activism of gays and lesbians also crossed over to recent Occupy Wall Street, peace, & environmental mobilizations

Sexual identities and participation in liberal and conservative social movements. Eric Swank. Social Science Research, Volume 74, August 2018, Pages 176-186. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2018.04.002

Abstract: The desire for social change, political activism, and sexual identities may all be related. Lesbians and gays generally contest heterosexism more than heterosexuals but we do not know how sexual identities sways participation in class, race, and gender based social movements. When analyzing the American National Election Surveys of 2012 (n = 3519), gays and lesbians were about twenty times more likely to join LGB justice campaigns than heterosexuals. Moreover, the greater activism of gays and lesbians also crossed over to recent Occupy Wall Street, peace, and environmental mobilizations. Finally, this analysis ends with logistic regressions that determine if any sexual identity gaps in movement participation are the result of demographic, contextual, and ideological covariates.

Friday, June 29, 2018

People often respond to decreases in the prevalence of a stimulus by expanding their concept of it. This “prevalence-induced concept change” occurred even when participants were forewarned about it and even when they were instructed and paid to resist it.

Prevalence-induced concept change in human judgment. David E. Levari et al. Science  Jun 29 2018: Vol. 360, Issue 6396, pp. 1465-1467. DOI: 10.1126/science.aap8731

Perceptual and judgment creep: Do we think that a problem persists even when it has become less frequent? Levari et al. show experimentally that when the “signal” a person is searching for becomes rare, the person naturally responds by broadening his or her definition of the signal—and therefore continues to find it even when it is not there. From low-level perception of color to higher-level judgments of ethics, there is a robust tendency for perceptual and judgmental standards to “creep” when they ought not to. For example, when blue dots become rare, participants start calling purple dots blue, and when threatening faces become rare, participants start calling neutral faces threatening. This phenomenon has broad implications that may help explain why people whose job is to find and eliminate problems in the world often cannot tell when their work is done.

Abstract: Why do some social problems seem so intractable? In a series of experiments, we show that people often respond to decreases in the prevalence of a stimulus by expanding their concept of it. When blue dots became rare, participants began to see purple dots as blue; when threatening faces became rare, participants began to see neutral faces as threatening; and when unethical requests became rare, participants began to see innocuous requests as unethical. This “prevalence-induced concept change” occurred even when participants were forewarned about it and even when they were instructed and paid to resist it. Social problems may seem intractable in part because reductions in their prevalence lead people to see more of them.

Self-reported Addiction to Pornography in a Nationally Representative Sample: The Role of Religiousness and Morality

Grubbs, Joshua, Shane W. Kraus, and Samuel Perry. 2018. “Self-reported Addiction to Pornography in a Nationally Representative Sample: The Role of Religiousness and Morality.” PsyArXiv. June 29. doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/M94NK

Abstract

Background and Aims: Despite controversies regarding its existence as a legitimate mental health condition, self-reported pornography addiction is known to occur regularly. In the United States, prior works using various sampling techniques, such as undergraduate samples and online convenience samples, have consistently demonstrated that a number of pornography users report feeling dysregulated or out of control in their use. Even so, there has been very little work in U.S. nationally representative samples to examine self-reported pornography addiction.

Methods: The present study sought to examine self-reported pornography addiction in a U.S. nationally representative sample of adult internet users (N=2,075).

Results:  Results indicated that the majority of the sample had viewed pornography within their lifetimes (n = 1,466), with just over half reporting some use in the past year (n = 1,056).  Moreover, roughly 11% of men and 3% of women reported some agreement with feelings of pornography addiction. Across all participants, such feelings were most strongly associated with male gender, younger age, greater religiousness, greater moral incongruence regarding pornography use, and greater use of pornography.

Discussion and Conclusions: Collectively, these findings are consistent with prior works that have noted that self-reported pornography addiction is a complex phenomenon that is predicted by both objective behavior and subjective moral evaluations of that behavior.

Between 1800 & 2000, for both genders, adjectives related to agreeableness were used most often and those related to neuroticism least often. The usage frequency of agreeableness declined, whereas extraversion & openness showed increases

How Have Males and Females Been Described Over the Past Two Centuries? An Analysis of Big-Five Personality-related adjectives in the Google English Books. Shenglu Yea et al. Journal of Research in Personality, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2018.06.007

Highlights
•    Agreeableness was described most often for both men and women.
•    Positive personality words were used more often than negative words for all factors.
•    The usage frequencies were higher for men than women for four factors except openness.
•    Gender differences showed some reduction over time.

Abstract: Using the American corpus and the English fiction corpus from Google Books databases, this study examined the frequencies of Big-Five personality adjectives used to describe the two genders between 1800 and 2000. Both gender similarities and differences were found. For both genders, adjectives related to agreeableness were used most often and those related to neuroticism least often. The usage frequency of agreeableness showed a steady decline, whereas extraversion and openness (and, to some extent, neuroticism) showed increases first and then leveled off. In terms of gender differences, the overall frequencies were higher for men than women for agreeableness, extraversion, conscientiousness, and neuroticism, but there was no gender difference for openness. Gender differences showed some reduction over time.

Keywords: Word frequency; time trend; gender similarities; gender differences; Big Five

Odor awareness: A model including individual-level predictors (gender, age, material situation, education & preferred social distance) provided a relatively good fit to the data, but adding country-level predictors did not

Global study of social odor awareness. Agnieszka Sorokowska Agata et al. Chemical Senses, bjy038, https://doi.org/10.1093/chemse/bjy038

Abstract: Olfaction plays an important role in human social communication, including multiple domains in which people often rely on their sense of smell in the social context. The importance of the sense of smell and its role can however vary inter-individually and culturally. Despite the growing body of literature on differences in olfactory performance or hedonic preferences across the globe, the aspects of a given culture as well as culturally universal individual differences affecting odor awareness in human social life remain unknown. Here, we conducted a large-scale analysis of data collected from 10,794 participants from 52 study sites from 44 countries all over the world. The aim of our research was to explore the potential individual and country-level correlates of odor awareness in the social context. The results show that the individual characteristics were more strongly related than country-level factors to self-reported odor awareness in different social contexts. A model including individual-level predictors (gender, age, material situation, education and preferred social distance) provided a relatively good fit to the data, but adding country-level predictors (Human Development Index, population density and average temperature) did not improve model parameters. Although there were some cross-cultural differences in social odor awareness, the main differentiating role was played by the individual differences. This suggests that people living in different cultures and different climate conditions may still share some similar patterns of odor awareness if they share other individual-level characteristics.

Keywords: odor awareness, olfaction, smell, culture

We reveal that mobility patterns evolve significantly yet smoothly, and that the number of familiar locations an individual visits at any point is a conserved quantity with a typical size of ~25

Evidence for a conserved quantity in human mobility. Laura Alessandretti, Piotr Sapiezynski, Vedran Sekara, Sune Lehmann & Andrea Baronchelli. Nature Human Behaviour, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-018-0364-x

Abstract: Recent seminal works on human mobility have shown that individuals constantly exploit a small set of repeatedly visited locations1,2,3. A concurrent study has emphasized the explorative nature of human behaviour, showing that the number of visited places grows steadily over time4,5,6,7. How to reconcile these seemingly contradicting facts remains an open question. Here, we analyse high-resolution multi-year traces of ~40,000 individuals from 4 datasets and show that this tension vanishes when the long-term evolution of mobility patterns is considered. We reveal that mobility patterns evolve significantly yet smoothly, and that the number of familiar locations an individual visits at any point is a conserved quantity with a typical size of ~25. We use this finding to improve state-of-the-art modelling of human mobility4,8. Furthermore, shifting the attention from aggregated quantities to individual behaviour, we show that the size of an individual’s set of preferred locations correlates with their number of social interactions. This result suggests a connection between the conserved quantity we identify, which as we show cannot be understood purely on the basis of time constraints, and the ‘Dunbar number’9,10 describing a cognitive upper limit to an individual’s number of social relations. We anticipate that our work will spark further research linking the study of human mobility and the cognitive and behavioural sciences.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Proportion of Sexual Offenders Who Are Female Is Higher Than Thought: A Meta-Analysis

The Proportion of Sexual Offenders Who Are Female Is Higher Than Thought: A Meta-Analysis. Franca Cortoni et al. Criminal Justice and Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1177/0093854816658923

Abstract: Women commit sexual offenses, but the proportion of sexual offenders who are female is subject to debates. Based on 17 samples from 12 countries, the current meta-analysis found that a small proportion of sexual offenses reported to police are committed by females (fixed-effect meta-analytical average = 2.2%). In contrast, victimization surveys indicated prevalence rates of female sexual offenders that were six times higher than official data (fixed-effect meta-analytical average = 11.6%). Female sexual offenders are more common among juvenile offenders than adult offenders, with approximately 2 percentage points more female juvenile sex offenders than female adult sex offenders. We also found that males were much more likely to self-report being victimized by female sex offenders compared with females (40% vs. 4%). The current study provides a robust estimate of the prevalence of female sexual offending, using a large sample of sexual offenses across diverse countries.

The Association Between Fraternal Birth Order and Anal-Erotic Roles of Men Who Have Sex with Men: Bottoms had a significantly greater mean number of older brothers than did Not-Bottoms

The Association Between Fraternal Birth Order and Anal-Erotic Roles of Men Who Have Sex with Men. Charles H. Wampold. Archives of Sexual Behavior, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-018-1237-0

Abstract: The fraternal birth order effect (FBOE) describes the phenomenon that homosexual men tend to have a greater number of older brothers than do heterosexual men. The FBOE is a marker for an innate, biological predisposition for androphilia in genotypic males. The FBOE has been studied since the 1930s and is the most consistent biodemographic correlate of sexual orientation in men. This study sought to determine whether the FBOE applies equally to all men who have sex with men (MSM), or disproportionately to MSM whose anal intercourse behavior is predominantly receptive (Bottoms). Participants included 243 North American adult MSM who responded to advertisements posted on a Web site and other electronic media associated with the GALA festival, a quadrennial gathering of gay and lesbian choruses. Each was asked whether his anal intercourse behavior during the preceding year was predominantly receptive, predominantly penetrative, or about equally receptive and penetrative. Those who indicated their behavior was predominantly receptive were coded “Bottoms”; all others were coded “Not-Bottoms.” Participants were also surveyed as to their sibship composition. Bottoms had a significantly greater mean number of older brothers than did Not-Bottoms. There was no significant difference with respect to older or younger sisters or younger brothers. Further, the older sibling sex ratio (OSSR) for the Bottom cohort, but not for the Not-Bottom cohort, was significantly higher than the expected OSSR for the general male population (OSSR = No. older brothers/No. older sisters × 100; expected OSSR for general population = 106). Thus, late fraternal birth order was correlated with receptive anal-erotic behavior among MSM.

Are some people truly better able to accurately perceive the personality of others? Previous research suggests that the good judge may be of little practical importance and individual differences minimal

Rogers, K. H., & Biesanz, J. C. (2018). Reassessing the good judge of personality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000197

Abstract: Are some people truly better able to accurately perceive the personality of others? Previous research suggests that the good judge may be of little practical importance and individual differences minimal. In four large samples we assessed whether expressive accuracy (the good target) is a necessary condition for perceptive accuracy (the good judge) to emerge. As predicted from Funder’s (1995) realistic accuracy model, assessments of the good judge predicted increased impression accuracy in the context of judgments of the good target. In contrast, evaluative tendencies for judges did not evidence a similar interaction; the positivity of impressions did not reliably increase as a function of how positively targets tend to be viewed. The present results suggest the good judge does indeed exist—some individuals are much better able to detect and utilize valid cues from targets—but this is only strongly evident when perceiving a good target.

Witchcraft beliefs in early modern Europe: Memes, or parasites of the mind

Parasites of the Mind. Why Cultural Theorists Need the Meme’s Eye View. Maarten Boudry, Steije Hofhuis. Cognitive Systems Research, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogsys.2018.06.010

Abstract: Are there any such things as mind parasites? By analogy with biological parasites, such cultural items are supposed to subvert or harm the interests of their host. The hypothesis of cultural parasitism has appeared in different guises in the burgeoning field of cultural evolution. To unpack the notion of mind parasites, we first clear some conceptual ground around the concept of cultural adaptation and its relation to human agency. We then formulate Millikan’s challenge: how can cultural items develop novel purposes of their own, cross-cutting or subverting our own personal purposes? If this central challenge is not met, talk of cultural ‘parasites’ or ‘selfish memes’ remains vacuous. First, we discuss why other attempts to answer Millikan’s challenge have failed. In particular, we put to rest the claims of panmemetics, a somewhat sinister worldview according to which human culture is nothing more than a swarm of selfish agents, plotting and scheming behind the scenes. Next, we reject a more reasonable, but still overly permissive approach to mind parasites, which equates them with biologically maladaptive culture. Finally, we present our own answer to Millikan’s challenge: certain systems of misbelief can be fruitfully treated as cultural parasites, which are designed by cultural evolution and which subvert the interests of their human hosts. As a proof of concept, we discuss witchcraft beliefs in early modern Europe, and show how the meme’s eye view promises to shed new light on a mystery that historians and social scientists have been wrestling with for decades.

Keywords: mind parasites; cultural adaptation; misbeliefs; meme’s eye view; witch persecutions; maladaptive culture

87% of husbands and 49% of wives reported consistently experiencing orgasm. 43% of husbands misperceived how often their wives experienced orgasm; wives' sexual satisfaction was positively associated with self-reported orgasm frequency, & both wives' and husbands' sexual communication

The Significance of the Female Orgasm: A Nationally Representative, Dyadic Study of Newlyweds' Orgasm Experience. Nathan D. Leonhardt et al. Leonhardt ND, Willoughby BJ, Busby DM, et al. The Journal of Sexual Medicine 2018;XX:XXX–XXX. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2018.05.018

Abstract

Background: Self-reported orgasm, perception of partner's orgasm, and misperception of partner's orgasm have each been correlated with individual sexual and relationship satisfaction, but these associations have rarely included dyadic data, have not fully accounted for potentially confounding variables such as sexual communication, and have never been simultaneously studied with a nationally representative sample.

Aim: To provide a more complete picture of how the orgasmic experience within the heterosexual couple influences individual and partner sexual and relationship satisfaction.

Methods: Using a nationally representative dyadic sample of 1,683 newlywed heterosexual couples, a structural equation model was estimated to test associations between husband and wife self-reported orgasm frequency, husband and wife report of the other partner's orgasm frequency, and husband and wife misperception of their partner's orgasm frequency, as correlates of relationship and sexual satisfaction.

Outcomes: Both husband and wife completed the Couples Satisfaction Index to assess their own relationship satisfaction, and completed a sexual satisfaction instrument designed for the CREATE study.

Results: 87% of husbands and 49% of wives reported consistently experiencing orgasm. 43% of husbands misperceived how often their wives experienced orgasm. The final structural equation model, including sexual communication, explained moderate amounts of variance in wives' and husbands' relationship satisfaction, and a high level of variance for wives' and husbands' sexual satisfaction. Wives' relationship satisfaction was positively associated with wives' and husbands' sexual communication. Wives' sexual satisfaction was positively associated with self-reported orgasm frequency, and both wives' and husbands' sexual communication. Husbands' relationship satisfaction was positively associated with husbands' and wives' sexual communication. Husbands' sexual satisfaction was positively associated with husbands' perception of wives' orgasm frequency, and both husbands' and wives' sexual communication.

Clinical Translation: When counseling couples, clinicians should give particular attention to the wife's orgasm experiences, to potentially help both husbands and wives have higher sexual satisfaction.

Strengths & Limitations: Strengths of this study include the use of a nationally representative sample and dyadic data. Limitations include cross-sectional data, and the assessment of sexual experiences only in newlywed couples.

Conclusion: Wives' orgasm (wives' self-report of frequency and husbands' perception of frequency) has a unique positive association with sexual satisfaction, even after taking into account other aspects of the orgasm experience and sexual communication.

Key Words: Sexuality; Sexual Satisfaction; Orgasm; Marriage; Marital Relationship; Misperception

Does Being Smarter Make You Happier? Evidence from Europe shows that only those older than 50 seem to be happier

Does Being Smarter Make You Happier? Evidence from Europe. Rifaan Ahmed, Dusanee Kesavayuth, Vasileios Zikos. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socec.2018.06.004

Highlights
•    We examine whether, and to what extent, cognitive abilities matter for the subjective well-being of older individuals
•    We utilize unique panel data from SHARE on individuals aged 50+
•    We find that individuals with higher cognitive abilities have, on average, higher levels of well-being
•    The beneficial effect of cognitive ability is more pronounced when it comes to the CASP measure as opposed to life satisfaction
•    The current paper provides some of the first empirical evidence on the relationship between cognition and well-being of older individuals in Europe

Abstract: In this paper we study the importance of cognitive abilities for the subjective well-being of older individuals. We draw unique panel data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) on a representative sample of individuals aged 50+. The analysis reveals that individuals with higher cognitive abilities have, on average, higher levels of subjective well-being. The result holds for two different well-being measures and remains robust under different specifications and limitations on the data. As such, it provides some of the first empirical evidence on the relationship between cognition and subjective well-being of older individuals in Europe.

Keywords: Life satisfaction; Quality of life; Cognition; Well-being; SHARE JEL codes: D01, I31

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Race and economic opportunity in the United States: Summary

Race and economic opportunity in the United States. Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Maggie R. Jones, Sonya R. Porter. Vox, Jun 27 2018. https://voxeu.org/article/race-and-economic-opportunity-united-states

The sources of racial disparities in income have been debated for decades. This column uses data on 20 million children and their parents to show how racial disparities persist across generations in the US. For instance, black men have much lower chances of climbing the income ladder than white men even if they grow up on the same block. In contrast, black and white women have similar rates of mobility. The column discusses how such findings can be used to reduce racial disparities going forward.

Finding #1: Hispanic Americans are moving up in the income distribution across generations, while Black Americans and American Indians are not.

Finding #2: The black.white income gap is entirely driven by differences in men's, not women's, outcomes.

Finding #3: Differences in family characteristics (parental marriage rates, education, wealth) and differences in ability explain very little of the black.white gap.

Finding #4: In 99% of neighbourhoods in the United States, black boys earn less in adulthood than white boys who grow up in families with comparable income.

Finding #5: Both black and white boys have better outcomes in low-poverty areas, but black-white gaps are bigger in such neighbourhoods.

Finding #6: Within low-poverty areas, black.white gaps are smallest in places with low levels of racial bias among whites and high rates of father presence among blacks.

Finding #7: The black.white gap is not immutable: black boys who move to better neighbourhoods as children have significantly better outcomes.

Ethnolinguistic Favoritism in African Politics: Ethnic favoritism is more widespread than previously believed, finding that patronage tends to be targeted toward ethnic regions rather than individuals of a particular ethnic group

Dickens, Andrew. 2018. "Ethnolinguistic Favoritism in African Politics." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 10(3):370-402. DOI: 10.1257/app.20160066

Abstract: African political leaders have a tendency to favor members of their own ethnic group. Yet for all other ethnic groups in a country, it is unclear whether having a similar ethnicity to the leader is beneficial. To shed light on this issue, I use a continuous measure of linguistic similarity to quantify the ethnic similarity of a leader to all ethnic groups in a country. Combined with panel data on 163 ethnic groups partitioned across 35 sub-Saharan countries, I use within-group time variation in similarity that results from a partitioned group's concurrent exposure to multiple national leaders. Findings show that ethnic favoritism is more widespread than previously believed: in addition to evidence of coethnic favoritism, I document evidence of non-coethnic favoritism that typically goes undetected in the absence of a continuous measure of similarity. I also find that patronage tends to be targeted toward ethnic regions rather than individuals of a particular ethnic group. I relate these results to the literature on coalition building, and provide evidence that ethnicity is one of the guiding principles behind high-level government appointments.

Stanford Prison Experiment: Using recordings from the archive we show how the experimenters directly intervened to persuade Guards to adopt their roles and to act tough

Van Bavel, Jay J. 2018. “Rethinking the ‘nature’ of Brutality: Uncovering the Role of Identity Leadership in the Stanford Prison Experiment.” PsyArXiv. June 27. doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/B7CRX

Abstract: On the basis of findings from the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE), Zimbardo and colleagues (e.g., Haney, Banks & Zimbardo, 1973) have argued that people’s willingness to oppress others — whether in the world at large or in classic social psychological studies — is the result of a tendency to conform ‘naturally’ to brutal roles. In contrast, Haslam and Reicher (e.g., 2007) have argued that it results from leadership which encourages potential perpetrators to identify with what is presented as a noble ingroup cause and to see their actions as necessary for the advancement of that cause. We review a range of evidence to show that such an analysis explains other classic studies of toxic behaviour (e.g. Milgram’s obedience studies). Nevertheless, researchers have hitherto had limited capacity to establish whether analysis framed in terms of identity leadership can account for brutality in the SPE. This has changed following the recent digitization of the SPE archive. Using recordings from the archive we show how the experimenters directly intervened to persuade Guards to adopt their roles and to act tough. Moreover, we show how these interventions accord with the tenets of identity leadership. Implications for the analysis of conformity, the understanding of brutality and the interpretation of the SPE are discussed.

h/t: Rolf Degen https://twitter.com/DegenRolf

Sex, trait psychopathy, and trait sadism were significant predictors of a short-term mating orientation. For long-term mating orientations, there was no predictive utility of sex, but there were positive associations for narcissism & negative associations for psychopathy & sadism

Predicting Short- and Long-Term Mating Orientations: The Role of Sex and the Dark Tetrad. Alexandra Tsoukas & Evita March. The Journal of Sex Research, https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2017.1420750

Abstract: Previous literature has extensively considered factors that influence short- and long-term mating orientations, with specific attention given to individual differences (e.g., sex and personality). Although research has established the role “darker” personality traits (i.e., the dark triad) play in mating orientation, this triad has recently been reconceptualized as a tetrad. Due to this reconceptualization, the current study sought to establish the utility of sex and the dark tetrad in predicting individual short- and long-term mating orientations. In addition, as an alternative to previous methodology, the orientations were assessed using a continuous measure. A total of 464 participants, ages 18 to 69, completed an online questionnaire assessing dark tetrad traits and mating orientations. Results showed that sex, trait psychopathy, and trait sadism were significant predictors of a short-term mating orientation. For long-term mating orientations, there was no predictive utility of sex, but there were positive associations for narcissism and negative associations for psychopathy and sadism. These findings add further understanding of the predictors of mating orientation and the utility of the tetrad in predicting mating orientations. In addition, the findings offer future mating orientation studies an alternative measure to the traditional dichotomous format.

h/t: Rolf Degen https://twitter.com/DegenRolf

Cognition, emotion and reward networks associated with sex differences for romantic appraisals: men and women differ in the processing of romantic information and that it may be more effortful for men to perceive and evaluate romance degree

Cognition, emotion and reward networks associated with sex differences for romantic appraisals. Jie Yin, Zhiling Zou, Hongwen Song, Zhuo Zhang, Bo Yang & Xiting Huang. Scientific Reports, volume 8, Article number: 2835 (2018). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-21079-5

Abstract: Romantic love is a cross-culturally universal phenomenon that serves as a commitment device for motivating pair bonding in human beings. Women and men may experience different feelings when viewing the same warm, romantic scenes. To determine which brain systems may be involved in romance perception and examine possible sex differences, we scanned 16 women and 16 men who were intensely in love, using functional MRI. Participants were required to rate the romance level of 60 pictures showing romantic events that may frequently occur during romantic relationship formation. The results showed that greater brain activation was found for men in the insula, PCC (posterior cingulate cortex), and prefrontal gyrus compared with women, primarily under the High-romance condition. In addition, enhanced functional connectivity between the brain regions involved in the High-romance condition in contrast to the Low-romance condition was only found for men. These data suggest that men and women differ in the processing of romantic information and that it may be  more effortful for men to perceive and evaluate romance degree.

h/t: Rolf Degen https://twitter.com/DegenRolf

Most taxa lack well-developed sexual weaponry; females of only a few species possess better weapons than males; & animals possessing the most developed weapons have non‐hunting habits or are faunivores that prey on very small prey relative to their body size

Intrasexually selected weapons. Alejandro Rico‐Guevara, Kristiina J. Hurme. Biological Reviews, https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12436

ABSTRACT: We propose a practical concept that distinguishes the particular kind of weaponry that has evolved to be used in combat between individuals of the same species and sex, which we term intrasexually selected weapons (ISWs). We present a treatise of ISWs in nature, aiming to understand their distinction and evolution from other secondary sex traits, including from ‘sexually selected weapons’, and from sexually dimorphic and monomorphic weaponry. We focus on the subset of secondary sex traits that are the result of same‐sex combat, defined here as ISWs, provide not previously reported evolutionary patterns, and offer hypotheses to answer questions such as: why have only some species evolved weapons to fight for the opposite sex or breeding resources? We examined traits that seem to have evolved as ISWs in the entire animal phylogeny, restricting the classification of ISW to traits that are only present or enlarged in adults of one of the sexes, and are used as weapons during intrasexual fights. Because of the absence of behavioural data and, in many cases, lack of sexually discriminated series from juveniles to adults, we exclude the fossil record from this review. We merge morphological, ontogenetic, and behavioural information, and for the first time thoroughly review the tree of life to identify separate evolution of ISWs. We found that ISWs are only found in bilateral animals, appearing independently in nematodes, various groups of arthropods, and vertebrates. Our review sets a reference point to explore other taxa that we identify with potential ISWs for which behavioural or morphological studies are warranted. We establish that most ISWs come in pairs, are located in or near the head, are endo‐ or exoskeletal modifications, are overdeveloped structures compared with those found in females, are modified feeding structures and/or locomotor appendages, are most common in terrestrial taxa, are frequently used to guard females, territories, or both, and are also used in signalling displays to deter rivals and/or attract females. We also found that most taxa lack ISWs, that females of only a few species possess better‐developed weapons than males, that the cases of independent evolution of ISWs are not evenly distributed across the phylogeny, and that animals possessing the most developed ISWs have non‐hunting habits (e.g. herbivores) or are faunivores that prey on very small prey relative to their body size (e.g. insectivores). Bringing together perspectives from studies on a variety of taxa, we conceptualize that there are five ways in which a sexually dimorphic trait, apart from the primary sex traits, can be fixed: sexual selection, fecundity selection, parental role division, differential niche occupation between the sexes, and interference competition. We discuss these trends and the factors involved in the evolution of intrasexually selected weaponry in nature.

Moral character of similar persons (in social beliefs) was perceived as much higher than that of dissimilar ones (effect was large); similar persons were perceived as more trustworthy than dissimilar ones (also large effect)

The mere liking effect: Attitudinal influences on attributions of moral character. Konrad Bocian et al. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 79, November 2018, Pages 9–20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2018.06.007

Highlights
•    The article bridges two classic areas of psychology: moral judgments and attitudes.
•    Attitudes strongly influence judgments of moral character.
•    These influences are entirely mediated by changes in liking of the judged persons.
•    Changes in mood do not play such a role.
•    Attitudinal influences might lay at the core of moral character perceptions.

Abstract: People believe that their moral judgments are well-justified and as objective as scientific facts. Still, dual-process models of judgment provide strong theoretical reasons to expect that in reality moral judgments are substantially influenced by highly subjective factors such as attitudes. In four experiments (N = 645) we provide evidence that similarity-dissimilarity of beliefs, mere exposure, and facial mimicry influence judgments of moral character measured in various ways. These influences are mediated by changes in liking of the judged persons, suggesting that attitudinal influences lay at the core of moral character perceptions. Changes in mood do not play such a role. This is the first line of studies showing that attitudes influence moral judgments in addition to frequently studied discrete emotions. It is also the first research evidencing the affective influences on judgments of moral character.

Keywords: Moral judgments; Moral character; Attitudes; Attribution

h/t: Rolf Degen https://twitter.com/DegenRolf

The Myth of the Liberal Order, by Graham Allison

The Myth of the Liberal Order: From Historical Accident to Conventional Wisdom. Graham Allison. Foreign Affairs, July/August 2018. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2018-06-14/myth-liberal-order

Among the debates that have swept the U.S. foreign policy community since the beginning of the Trump administration, alarm about the fate of the liberal international rules-based order has emerged as one of the few fixed points. From the international relations scholar G. John Ikenberry’s claim that “for seven decades the world has been dominated by a western liberal order” to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s call in the final days of the Obama administration to “act urgently to defend the liberal international order,” this banner waves atop most discussions of the United States’ role in the world.

About this order, the reigning consensus makes three core claims. First, that the liberal order has been the principal cause of the so-called long peace among great powers for the past seven decades. Second, that constructing this order has been the main driver of U.S. engagement in the world over that period. And third, that U.S. President Donald Trump is the primary threat to the liberal order—and thus to world peace. The political scientist Joseph Nye, for example, has written, “The demonstrable success of the order in helping secure and stabilize the world over the past seven decades has led to a strong consensus that defending, deepening, and extending this system has been and continues to be the central task of U.S. foreign policy.” Nye has gone so far as to assert: “I am not worried by the rise of China. I am more worried by the rise of Trump.”

Although all these propositions contain some truth, each is more wrong than right. The “long peace” was the not the result of a liberal order but the byproduct of the dangerous balance of power between the Soviet Union and the United States during the four and a half decades of the Cold War and then of a brief period of U.S. dominance. U.S. engagement in the world has been driven not by the desire to advance liberalism abroad or to build an international order but by the need to do what was necessary to preserve liberal democracy at home. And although Trump is undermining key elements of the current order, he is far from the biggest threat to global stability.

These misconceptions about the liberal order’s causes and consequences lead its advocates to call for the United States to strengthen the order by clinging to pillars from the past and rolling back authoritarianism around the globe. Yet rather than seek to return to an imagined past in which the United States molded the world in its image, Washington should limit its efforts to ensuring sufficient order abroad to allow it to concentrate on reconstructing a viable liberal democracy at home.

CONCEPTUAL JELL-O

The ambiguity of each of the terms in the phrase “liberal international rules-based order” creates a slipperiness that allows the concept to be applied to almost any situation. When, in 2017, members of the World Economic Forum in Davos crowned Chinese President Xi Jinping the leader of the liberal economic order—even though he heads the most protectionist, mercantilist, and predatory major economy in the world—they revealed that, at least in this context, the word “liberal” has come unhinged.

What is more, “rules-based order” is redundant. Order is a condition created by rules and regularity. What proponents of the liberal international rules-based order really mean is an order that embodies good rules, ones that are equal or fair. The United States is said to have designed an order that others willingly embrace and sustain.

Many forget, however, that even the UN Charter, which prohibits nations from using military force against other nations or intervening in their internal affairs, privileges the strong over the weak. Enforcement of the charter’s prohibitions is the preserve of the UN Security Council, on which each of the five great powers has a permanent seat—and a veto. As the Indian strategist C. Raja Mohan has observed, superpowers are “exceptional”; that is, when they decide it suits their purpose, they make exceptions for themselves. The fact that in the first 17 years of this century, the self-proclaimed leader of the liberal order invaded two countries, conducted air strikes and Special Forces raids to kill hundreds of people it unilaterally deemed to be terrorists, and subjected scores of others to “extraordinary rendition,” often without any international legal authority (and sometimes without even national legal authority), speaks for itself.

COLD WAR ORDER

The claim that the liberal order produced the last seven decades of peace overlooks a major fact: the first four of those decades were defined not by a liberal order but by a cold war between two polar opposites. As the historian who named this “long peace” has explained, the international system that prevented great-power war during that time was the unintended consequence of the struggle between the Soviet Union and the United States. In John Lewis Gaddis’ words, “Without anyone’s having designed it, and without any attempt whatever to consider the requirements of justice, the nations of the postwar era lucked into a system of international relations that, because it has been based upon realities of power, has served the cause of order—if not justice—better than one might have expected.”

During the Cold War, both superpowers enlisted allies and clients around the globe, creating what came to be known as a bipolar world. Within each alliance or bloc, order was enforced by the superpower (as Hungarians and Czechs discovered when they tried to defect in 1956 and 1968, respectively, and as the British and French learned when they defied U.S. wishes in 1956, during the Suez crisis). Order emerged from a balance of power, which allowed the two superpowers to develop the constraints that preserved what U.S. President John F. Kennedy called, in the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the “precarious status quo.”

What moved a country that had for almost two centuries assiduously avoided entangling military alliances, refused to maintain a large standing military during peacetime, left international economics to others, and rejected the League of Nations to use its soldiers, diplomats, and money to reshape half the world? In a word, fear. The strategists revered by modern U.S. scholars as “the wise men” believed that the Soviet Union posed a greater threat to the United States than Nazism had. As the diplomat George Kennan wrote in his legendary “Long Telegram,” the Soviet Union was “a political force committed fanatically to the belief that with US there can be no permanent modus vivendi.” Soviet Communists, Kennan wrote, believed it was necessary that “our society be disrupted, our traditional way of life be destroyed, the international authority of our state be broken, if Soviet power [was] to be secure.”

Before the nuclear age, such a threat would have required a hot war as intense as the one the United States and its allies had just fought against Nazi Germany. But after the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, in 1949, American statesmen began wrestling with the thought that total war as they had known it was becoming obsolete. In the greatest leap of strategic imagination in the history of U.S. foreign policy, they developed a strategy for a form of combat never previously seen, the conduct of war by every means short of physical conflict between the principal combatants.

To prevent a cold conflict from turning hot, they accepted—for the time being—many otherwise unacceptable facts, such as the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. They modulated their competition with mutual constraints that included three noes: no use of nuclear weapons, no overt killing of each other’s soldiers, and no military intervention in the other’s recognized sphere of influence.

American strategists incorporated Western Europe and Japan into this war effort because they saw them as centers of economic and strategic gravity. To this end, the United States launched the Marshall Plan to rebuild Western Europe, founded the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and negotiated the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to promote global prosperity. And to ensure that Western Europe and Japan remained in active cooperation with the United States, it established NATO and the U.S.-Japanese alliance.

Each initiative served as a building block in an order designed first and foremost to defeat the Soviet adversary. Had there been no Soviet threat, there would have been no Marshall Plan and no NATO. The United States has never promoted liberalism abroad when it believed that doing so would pose a significant threat to its vital interests at home. Nor has it ever refrained from using military force to protect its interests when the use of force violated international rules. Had there been no Soviet threat, there would have been no Marshall Plan and no Nato.

Nonetheless, when the United States has had the opportunity to advance freedom for others—again, with the important caveat that doing so would involve little risk to itself—it has acted. From the founding of the republic, the nation has embraced radical, universalistic ideals. In proclaiming that “all” people “are created equal,” the Declaration of Independence did not mean just those living in the 13 colonies.

It was no accident that in reconstructing its defeated adversaries  Germany and Japan and shoring up its allies in Western Europe, the United States sought to build liberal democracies that would embrace shared values as well as shared interests. The ideological campaign against the Soviet Union hammered home fundamental, if exaggerated, differences between “the free world” and “the evil empire.” Moreover, American policymakers knew that in mobilizing and sustaining support in Congress and among the public, appeals to values are as persuasive as arguments about interests.

In his memoir, Present at the Creation, former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson, an architect of the postwar effort, explained the thinking that motivated U.S. foreign policy. The prospect of Europe falling under Soviet control through a series of “‘settlements by default’ to Soviet pressure” required the “creation of strength throughout the free world” that would “show the Soviet leaders by successful containment that they could not hope to expand their influence throughout the world.” Persuading Congress and the American public to support this undertaking, Acheson acknowledged, sometimes required making the case “clearer than truth.”

UNIPOLAR ORDER

In the aftermath of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s campaign to “bury communism,”Americans were understandably caught up in a surge of triumphalism. The adversary on which they had focused for over 40 years stood by as the Berlin Wall came tumbling down and Germany reunified. It then joined with the United States in a unanimous UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force to throw the Iraqi military out of Kuwait. As the iron fist of Soviet oppression withdrew, free people in Eastern Europe embraced market economies and democracy. U.S. President George H. W. Bush declared a “new world order.” Hereafter, under a banner of “engage and enlarge,” the United States would welcome a world clamoring to join a growing liberal order.

Writing about the power of ideas, the economist John Maynard Keynes noted, “Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.” In this case, American politicians were following a script offered by the political scientist Francis Fukuyama in his best-selling 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man. Fukuyama argued that millennia of conflict among ideologies were over. From this point on, all nations would embrace free-market economics to make their citizens rich and democratic governments to make them free. “What we may be witnessing,” he wrote, “is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” In 1996, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman went even further by proclaiming the “Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention”: “When a country reaches a certain level of economic development, when it has a middle class big enough to support a McDonald’s, it becomes a McDonald’s country, and people in McDonald’s countries don’t like to fight wars; they like to wait in line for burgers.”

This vision led to an odd coupling of neoconservative crusaders on the right and liberal interventionists on the left. Together, they persuaded a succession of U.S. presidents to try to advance the spread of capitalism and liberal democracy through the barrel of a gun. In 1999, Bill Clinton bombed Belgrade to force it to free Kosovo. In 2003, George W. Bush invaded Iraq to topple its president, Saddam Hussein. When his stated rationale for the invasion collapsed after U.S. forces were unable to find weapons of mass destruction, Bush declared a new mission: “to build a lasting democracy that is peaceful and prosperous.” In the words of Condoleezza Rice, his national security adviser at the time, “Iraq and Afghanistan are vanguards of this effort to spread democracy and tolerance and freedom throughout the Greater Middle East.” And in 2011, Barack Obama embraced the Arab Spring’s promise to bring democracy to the nations of the Middle East and sought to advance it by bombing Libya and deposing its brutal leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi. Few in Washington paused to note that in each case, the unipolar power was using military force to impose liberalism on countries whose governments could not strike back. Since the world had entered a new chapter of history, lessons from the past about the likely consequences of such behavior were ignored. The end of the Cold War produced a unipolar moment, not a unipolar era.

As is now clear, the end of the Cold War produced a unipolar moment, not a unipolar era. Today, foreign policy elites have woken up to the meteoric rise of an authoritarian China, which now rivals or even surpasses the United States in many domains, and the resurgence of an assertive, illiberal Russian nuclear superpower, which is willing to use its military to change both borders in Europe and the balance of power in the Middle East. More slowly and more painfully, they are discovering that the United States’ share of global power has shrunk. When measured by the yardstick of purchasing power parity, the U.S. economy, which accounted for half of the world’s GDP after World War II, had fallen to less than a quarter of global GDP by the end of the Cold War and stands at just one-seventh today. For a nation whose core strategy has been to overwhelm challenges with resources, this decline calls into question the terms of U.S. leadership.

This rude awakening to the return of history jumps out in the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy, released at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, respectively. The NDS notes that in the unipolar decades, “the United States has enjoyed uncontested or dominant superiority in every operating domain.” As a consequence, “we could generally deploy our forces when we wanted, assemble them where we wanted, and operate how we wanted.” But today, as the NSS observes, China and Russia “are fielding military capabilities designed to deny America access in times of crisis and to contest our ability to operate freely.” Revisionist powers, it concludes, are “trying to change the international order in their favor.”

THE AMERICAN EXPERIMENT

During most of the nation’s 242 years, Americans have recognized the necessity to give priority to ensuring freedom at home over advancing aspirations abroad. The Founding Fathers were acutely aware that constructing a government in which free citizens would govern themselves was an uncertain, hazardous undertaking.

Among the hardest questions they confronted was how to create a government powerful enough to ensure Americans’ rights at home and protect them from enemies abroad without making it so powerful that it would abuse its strength.

Their solution, as the presidential scholar Richard Neustadt wrote, was not just a “separation of powers” among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches but “separated institutions sharing power.” The Constitution was an “invitation to struggle.” And presidents, members of Congress, judges, and even journalists have been struggling ever since. The process was not meant to be pretty. As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis explained to those frustrated by the delays, gridlock, and even idiocy these checks and balances sometimes produce, the founders’ purpose was “not to promote efficiency but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power.”

From this beginning, the American experiment in self-government has always been ...

To overcome the feeling of eeriness of own-voice recordings, some have suggested equalization of the recorded voice with various types of filters; but there is no general filter that can represent own voice for everyone, and the uncanny valley does not exist for own voice, specifically

Auditory traits of "own voice". Marino Kimura, Yuko Yotsumoto. PLOS June 26, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0199443

Abstract: People perceive their recorded voice differently from their actively spoken voice. The uncanny valley theory proposes that as an object approaches humanlike characteristics, there is an increase in the sense of familiarity; however, eventually a point is reached where the object becomes strangely similar and makes us feel uneasy. The feeling of discomfort experienced when people hear their recorded voice may correspond to the floor of the proposed uncanny valley. To overcome the feeling of eeriness of own-voice recordings, previous studies have suggested equalization of the recorded voice with various types of filters, such as step, bandpass, and low-pass, yet the effectiveness of these filters has not been evaluated. To address this, the aim of experiment 1 was to identify what type of voice recording was the most representative of one’s own voice. The voice recordings were presented in five different conditions: unadjusted recorded voice, step filtered voice, bandpass filtered voice, low-pass filtered voice, and a voice for which the participants freely adjusted the parameters. We found large individual differences in the most representative own-voice filter. In order to consider roles of sense of agency, experiment 2 investigated if lip-synching would influence the rating of own voice. The result suggested lip-synching did not affect own voice ratings. In experiment 3, based on the assumption that the voices used in previous experiments corresponded to continuous representations of non-own voice to own voice, the existence of an uncanny valley was examined. Familiarity, eeriness, and the sense of own voice were rated. The result did not support the existence of an uncanny valley. Taken together, the experiments led us to the following conclusions: there is no general filter that can represent own voice for everyone, sense of agency has no effect on own voice rating, and the uncanny valley does not exist for own voice, specifically.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Parents were more likely than their daughters to choose an unattractive, but wealthy mate for the daughters, but they also tended to shy away from a wealthy plus attractive mate

Parent–offspring conflict over mate choice: An experimental study in China. Jeanne Bovet et al. British Journal of Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1111/bjop.12319

Abstract: Both parents and offspring have evolved mating preferences that enable them to select mates and children‐in‐law to maximize their inclusive fitness. The theory of parent–offspring conflict predicts that preferences for potential mates may differ between parents and offspring: individuals are expected to value biological quality more in their own mates than in their offspring's mates and to value investment potential more in their offspring's mates than in their own mates. We tested this hypothesis in China using a naturalistic ‘marriage market’ where parents actively search for marital partners for their offspring. Parents gather at a public park to advertise the characteristics of their adult children, looking for a potential son or daughter‐in‐law. We presented 589 parents and young adults from the city of Kunming (Yunnan, China) with hypothetical mating candidates varying in their levels of income (proxy for investment potential) and physical attractiveness (proxy for biological quality). We found some evidence of a parent–offspring conflict over mate choice, but only in the case of daughters, who evaluated physical attractiveness as more important than parents. We also found an effect of the mating candidate's sex, as physical attractiveness was deemed more valuable in a female potential mate by parents and offspring alike.

Rolf Degen summarizing (https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1011602601840906240): Parents were more likely than their daughters to choose an unattractive, but wealthy mate for the daughters, but they also tended to shy away from a wealthy plus attractive mate

Self-perceived effects of pornography consumption among heterosexual men

Miller, D. J., Hald, G. M., & Kidd, G. (2018). Self-perceived effects of pornography consumption among heterosexual men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 19(3), 469-476. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/men0000112

Abstract: Pornography has been identified as playing an increasingly important role in the sexual socialization of men. However, relatively little attention has been paid to men’s perceptions of their own pornography consumption. This study investigated self-perceived effects of pornography consumption among an online sample of heterosexual men (N = 312). The study used a short form version of the Pornography Consumption Effects Scale (PCES–SF). The PCES–SF measures both self-perceived positive and negative effects of pornography consumption across the domains of sex life, attitudes toward sex, life in general, perceptions, and attitudes toward the opposite gender, and sexual knowledge. Level of pornography use (measured in terms of frequency of use and average length of use) was positively predictive of both self-perceived positive and negative effects of pornography consumption. Those who indicated that they had never been regular users of pornography reported more negative effects than regular users. Older participants reported fewer negative effects than younger participants, even after controlling for level of pornography use. However, the relationship between age and perceived positive effects was nonsignificant. Religiosity was positively predictive of perceived negative effects, but unrelated to actual level of use. Overall, the sample perceived pornography to have a significantly greater positive than negative effect on their lives. This research is part of a growing body of literature that suggests that most men consider pornography to have a positive impact on their sexual self-schema and lives more generally.


Psychology of Men & Masculinity: Eating meat makes you sexy / Conformity to dietary gender norms and attractiveness

Timeo, S., & Suitner, C. (2018). Eating meat makes you sexy: Conformity to dietary gender norms and attractiveness. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 19(3), 418-429. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/men0000119

Abstract: Past research has highlighted links between meat consumption and masculine gender role norms such that meat consumers are generally attributed more masculine traits than their vegetable-consuming counterparts. However, the direct link between gender roles and men’s food choices has been somewhat neglected in the literature. Three studies conducted in Italy investigated this link between meat and masculinity. Studies 1 and 2 analyzed female mating preference for vegetarian and omnivorous partners, confirming that women preferred omnivorous men (Study 1 and 2), rated them as more attractive (Study 1 and 2), and felt more positive about them (Study 1) than vegetarians. Moreover Study 2 showed that the attribution of masculinity mediated this relationship, such that vegetarian men were considered less attractive because they were perceived as less masculine. Study 3 tested the relationship between the endorsement of food-related gender norms and food choices in a sample of Italian men. The results showed that men who perceived vegetarianism as feminine preferred meat-based dishes for themselves and expected their female partners to choose vegetarian dishes. Together, these findings show that gender role norms prescribing that men eat meat are actively maintained by both women and men and do in fact guide men’s food choices.

Low knowledge about autism is associated with thinking one knows more than experts; “overconfidence” is associated with anti-vaccine policy attitudes and with support for non-experts’ role in policymaking

Knowing less but presuming more: Dunning-Kruger effects and the endorsement of anti-vaccine policy attitudes. Matthew Motta, Timothy Callaghan, Steven Sylvester. Social Science & Medicine, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.06.032

Highlights
•    Low knowledge about autism is associated with thinking one knows more than experts.
•    “Overconfidence” is associated with anti-vaccine policy attitudes.
•    Overconfidence is also associated with support for non-experts’ role in policymaking.

Abstract

Objective: Although the benefits of vaccines are widely recognized by medical experts, public opinion about vaccination policies is mixed. We analyze public opinion about vaccination policies to assess whether Dunning-Kruger effects can help to explain anti-vaccination policy attitudes.

Rationale: People low in autism awareness – that is, the knowledge of basic facts and dismissal of misinformation about autism – should be the most likely to think that they are better informed than medical experts about the causes of autism (a Dunning-Kruger effect). This “overconfidence” should be associated with decreased support for mandatory vaccination policies and skepticism about the role that medical professionals play in the policymaking process.

Method: In an original survey of U.S. adults (N = 1310), we modeled self-reported overconfidence as a function of responses to a knowledge test about the causes of autism, and the endorsement of misinformation about a link between vaccines and autism. We then modeled anti-vaccination policy support and attitudes toward the role that experts play in the policymaking process as a function of overconfidence and the autism awareness indicators while controlling for potential confounding factors.

Results: More than a third of respondents in our sample thought that they knew as much or more than doctors (36%) and scientists (34%) about the causes of autism. Our analysis indicates that this overconfidence is highest among those with low levels of knowledge about the causes of autism and those with high levels of misinformation endorsement. Further, our results suggest that this overconfidence is associated with opposition to mandatory vaccination policy. Overconfidence is also associated with increased support for the role that non-experts (e.g., celebrities) play in the policymaking process.

Conclusion: Dunning-Kruger effects can help to explain public opposition to vaccination policies and should be carefully considered in future research on anti-vaccine policy attitudes.

Keywords: Vaccines; Dunning-kruger effects; Anti-vax; Political psychology; Health policy



In conservative cultures, individuals are likely to face costs such as punishment for short-term mating. Conservatives over-perceived hypothetical mates as long-term investing partners, despite their lack of commitment-compatible traits.

You’re Not My Type: Do Conservatives Have a Bias for Seeing Long-Term Mates? Naomi K. Muggleton, Corey L. Fincher. Evolution and Human Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.06.009

Abstract: When choosing a mate, humans favour genetic traits (attractiveness, high sex drive) for short-term relationships and parental traits (warmth, high status) for long-term relationships. These preferences serve to maximise fitness of future offspring. But this model neglects the role of social norms in shaping evolved mating strategies. In conservative cultures, individuals are likely to face costs such as punishment for short-term mating. Here we show that conservatives over-perceive some mates’ suitability as long-term partners. Study 1 found that conservatives were less likely to use a short-term strategy that was distinctive from their long-term strategy. Study 2 showed that conservatives over-perceived hypothetical mates as long-term investing partners, despite their lack of commitment-compatible traits. Conservatism was measured at the regional- (India, USA, UK) and individual-level. Our results demonstrate how social norms may bias behaviour to reduce costs. We anticipate our findings to be a starting point for more sophisticated models, drawing on developments from evolutionary and social psychology.

Keywords: Mate choice; Conservatism; Behavioural ecology; Cross-cultural psychology; Sex differences

Evolutionary Theory: Male and Female Nipples as a Test Case for the Assumption that Functional Features Vary Less than Nonfunctional Byproducts

Male and Female Nipples as a Test Case for the Assumption that Functional Features Vary Less than Nonfunctional Byproducts. Ashleigh J. Kelly et al. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40750-018-0096-1

Abstract

Objectives: Evolutionary researchers have sometimes taken findings of low variation in the size or shape of a biological feature to indicate that it is functional and under strong evolutionary selection, and have assumed that high variation implies weak or absent selection and therefore lack of function.

Methods: To test this assumption we compared the size variation (using a mean-adjusted measure of absolute variability) of the functional human female nipple (defined as the nipple-areola complex) with that of the non-functional human male nipple.

Results: We found that female nipples were significantly more variable than male nipples, even after controlling for body mass index, testing-room temperature, bust size in women, and chest size in men.

Conclusions: Morphological variation in a feature should not be used by itself to infer whether or not the feature is functional or under selection.

Women with more hook ups were more likely to experience a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction & a greater likelihood of receiving oral sex; women desire more reciprocity, oral and manual sex, and orgasms during their hook ups with men

What Happens in a Hook Up?: Young Women’s Behaviors, Emotions, and  Pleasures. Sarah N. Bell PhD Thesis. Michigan Univ., 2018. https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/144134/sarahnb_1.pdf

Abstract: “Hook ups” are common among adolescents and young adults on college campuses. Prior research positions women as risking a lot when they hook up, including physical, emotional, and social costs, while they stand to benefit little from hook ups. Additionally, research shows that women do not often experience orgasms during hook ups, but little is known about women’s pleasure in hook ups outside their rates of orgasm. The current studies sought to better understand what women’s experiences in hook ups consist of in terms of behaviors, emotions, and pleasures. Study 1 (discussed in Chapter 3) asked young women (N=23) to perform a card-sort in relation to their  actual and desired behaviors and emotions in their most recent hook up. Results from Study 1 show that women reported desiring more oral and manual sex and more  orgasms from a variety of sexual activities. Study 2 (discussed in Chapter 4) asked young college women (N=23) to participate in in-depth interviews regarding their sexual pleasure during hook ups with men. Results from Study 2 revealed that women reported that they experienced a range of different pleasures in their hook ups with men, including but not limited to orgasm. Women in Study 2 also discussed how the norms of hook up culture impacted their ability to prioritize or pursue their own sexual pleasure, and how men violated the norm of reciprocity. Study 3 (discussed in Chapter 5) surveyed young college women (N=102) about their behaviors, emotions, and pleasures in hook ups. Results from Study 3 revealed that a typical hook up involved a range of sexual behaviors; women reported giving oral sex more often than they received it. Women in Study 3 also reported frequent positive emotions in relation to their hook-ups and fewer negative emotions in contrast to prior research. Results from Study 3 also showed  that while a typical hook up included men’s orgasm, women rarely experienced orgasm in their  hook ups. Women who reported engaging in a greater number of hook ups in Study 3 were more likely to experience a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and a greater likelihood of receiving oral sex from their partner. Across the three studies, women reported positive emotions in relation to their hook ups, but reported greater desire for more reciprocity, oral and manual sex, and orgasms during their hook ups with men. Results are discussed in relation to women’s sexual freedom to prioritize their own pleasure amidst a sexual milieu that privileges men’s pleasure during sexual encounters.

Democrats/liberals tended to smoke cigarettes and drink excessively; Republicans/conservatives tended to eat poorly, exercise less, not get the flu shot; ideology based variation in cognitive-motivational styles might explain this

Political orientation, political environment, and health behaviors in the United States. Viji Diane Kannan, Peter J. Veazie. Preventive Medicine, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.06.011

Highlights
•    Individual and ecological political measures are related to health behaviors.
•    Democrats/liberals tended to smoke cigarettes and drink excessively.
•    Republicans/conservatives tended to eat poorly, exercise less, not get the flu shot.
•    Republican regions had more flu shots, more cigarette smoking, and poorer diets.
•    Ideology based variation in cognitive-motivational styles might explain results.

Abstract: Political orientation (Republican/Democrat and conservative/liberal) and political environment (geo-spatial political party affiliated voting patterns) are both associated with various health outcomes, including mortality. Modern disease etiology in the U.S. suggests that many of our health outcomes derive from behaviors and lifestyle choices. Thus, we examine the associations of political orientation and political environment with health behaviors. We used the Annenberg National Health Communication Survey (ANHCS) data, which is a nationally representative U.S. survey fielded continuously from 2005 through 2012. The health behaviors studied include health information search, flu vaccination, excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco consumption, exercise, and dietary patterns. Democrats/liberals had higher odds of cigarette smoking and excessive drinking compared to Republicans/conservatives. Whereas, Republicans/conservatives ate fewer servings and fewer varieties of fruit and vegetables; ate more high fat and processed foods; and engaged in less in-depth health information searches compared to Democrats/liberals. Also, conservatives had lower odds of exercise participation than liberals; whereas Republicans had lower odds of flu vaccination. Greater Republican vote share in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections at the state and/or county levels was associated with higher odds of flu vaccination and smoking cigarettes and lower odds of avoiding fat/calories, avoiding fast/processed food, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, and eating more servings of fruit. We use the distinct cognitive-motivational styles attributed to political orientation in discussing the findings. Health communication strategies could leverage these relationships to produce tailored and targeted messages as well as to develop and advocate for policy.

Keywords: Health behavior; Politics; Psychology; Exercise; Diet, food, and nutrition; Flu vaccine; Tobacco smoking; Alcohol drinking; Health information

We study questionnaire responses to situations in which sacrificing one life may save many other lives; males are more supportive of the sacrifice than females. A source of the endorsement of sacrifice are the antisocial preferences.

Moral judgments, gender, and antisocial preferences: an experimental study. Juergen Bracht, Adam Zylbersztejn. Theory and Decision, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11238-018-9668-6

Abstract: We study questionnaire responses to situations in which sacrificing one life may save many other lives. We demonstrate gender differences in moral judgments: males are more supportive of the sacrifice than females. We investigate a source of the endorsement of the sacrifice: antisocial preferences. First, we measure individual proneness to spiteful behavior, using an experimental game with monetary stakes. We demonstrate that spitefulness can be sizable—a fifth of our participants behave spitefully—but it is not associated with gender. Second, we find that gender is consistently associated with responses even when we account for individual differences in the propensity to spitefulness.

Rolf Degen summarizing: Hate is dislike plus moral condemnation, plus the conviction that other reasonable people should feel the same way

Van Bavel, Jay J. 2018. “The Psychology of Hate: Moral Concerns Differentiate Hate from Dislike.” PsyArXiv. June 25. doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/X9Y2P

Abstract: Theories of hate date back several thousand years, yet very few experiments have examined the psychological structure of hate. We investigated whether any differences in the psychological experience of hate and dislike were a matter of degree (i.e. hate falls on the end of the continuum of dislike) or kind (i.e. hate is imbued with distinct cognitive, emotional, or motivational components that distinguish it from dislike). In a series of experiments, participants reported disliked and hated attitude objects and rated each on dimensions including valence, attitude strength, morality, and emotional content. Quantitative and qualitative measures provided convergent evidence that hated attitude objects were not only more negative than disliked attitude objects but also more likely to be associated with moral beliefs and emotions (Study 1). Further, differences in kind (i.e., moral beliefs and emotions) held even after statistically adjusting for diffebiparrences in degree (i.e., negativity). Subsequent research confirmed that hate not only differs from dislike but also from extreme dislike—providing a more stringent test of a difference in kind (Study 2)—and this difference was observed for both person and concept attitude objects (Study 3). A content analysis of online websites found that the language used on hate websites also differed in kind (i.e., moral content), but not degree (i.e., negativity), from complaint forums (Study 4). Thus, across quantitative and qualitative indices from the lab and the field, hated attitude objects were more likely to be associated with morality than disliked objects.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Powerless individuals were less inclined to express their anger directly but more inclined to express it indirectly by sharing it with others; powerful participants always expected to elicit more fear than anger in the target

Powerless People Don't Yell But Tell: The Effects of Social Power on Direct and Indirect Expression of Anger. Katerina Petkanopoulou. Rosa Rodríguez Bailón, Guillermo B. Willis, Gerben A. van Kleef. European Journal of Social Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2521

Abstract: Expressing anger can engender desired change, but it can also backfire. In the present research we examined how power shapes the expression of anger. In Study 1, we found that powerless individuals were less inclined to express their anger directly but more inclined to express it indirectly by sharing it with others. Powerless participants’ reluctance to express anger directly was mediated by negative social appraisals. In Study 2, we replicated the effect of power on direct anger expression in a situation in which participants had actual power (or not). Anger was evoked in the laboratory using an ecologically valid procedure, and participants were given an opportunity to express anger. Study 3 showed that powerless participants expected direct anger expression to arouse more anger than fear in the target, whereas the opposite was true for indirect anger expression. Powerful participants always expected to elicit more fear than anger in the target.

Eagerness and Optimistically Biased Metaperception: The More Eager to Learn Others’ Evaluations, the Higher the Estimation of Others’ Evaluation

Eagerness and Optimistically Biased Metaperception: The More Eager to Learn Others’ Evaluations, the Higher the Estimation of Others’ Evaluations. Jingyi Lu, Hebing Duan and Xiaofei Xie. Front. Psychol., May 15 2018 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00715

Abstract: People frequently judge how they are viewed by others during social interactions. These judgments are called metaperceptions. This study investigates the relationship between eagerness to determine the evaluation of others and metaperceptions. We propose that eagerness, which reflects approach motivation, induces positive emotions. We apply feelings-as-information theory and hypothesize that positive emotions cause optimistic self-evaluations and metaperceptions. Participants in three studies interact with judges during a singing contest (Study 1), a speech (Study 2), and an interview (Study 3). Results corroborate that eagerness to learn the evaluation of others is overall related to optimistically biased metaperceptions. This effect is mediated sequentially by positive emotions, optimistic self-evaluations, and increased metaperceptions.

Negative information is better remembered than positive information, from which we predict that in comparison with negative retrospective evaluations, positive evaluations have a stronger correlation with end affect and a weaker correlation with peak affect. We confirm this.

The Retrospective Evaluation of Positive and Negative Affect. Yoav Ganzach et al. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167218780695

Abstract: A vast amount of literature examined the relationship between retrospective affective evaluations and evaluations of affective experiences. This literature has focused on simple momentary experiences, and was based on a unidimensional concept of affect. The current article examines the relationships between evaluations of complex experiences, experiences involving both positive and negative feelings, and the retrospective evaluation of these experiences. Based on the idea that negative information is better remembered than positive information, we predict that in comparison with negative retrospective evaluations, positive evaluations have a stronger correlation with end affect and a weaker correlation with peak affect. These predictions are tested in two studies. We explore boundary conditions for these effects and demonstrate the implications of the asymmetry between positive and negative affect to various topics that are at the center of affect research: the dimensionality of affective experiences, the memory-experience gap, and the analysis of net affect.

Keywords: emotions, judgment and decision making, positive and negative affect, retrospective utility

Sunday, June 24, 2018

They find a substantial ex ante probability of there being no other intelligent life in our observable universe

Dissolving the Fermi Paradox. Anders Sandberg, Eric Drexler and Toby Ord. Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University, June 8, 2018. arXiv:1806.02404v1

Abstract: The Fermi paradox is the conflict between an expectation of a high ex ante probability of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe and the apparently lifeless universe we in fact observe. The expect ation that the universe should be teeming with intelligent life is linked to models like the Drake equation, which suggest that even if the probability of intelligent life developing at a given site is small, the sheer multitude of possible sites should nonetheless yield a large number of potentially observable civilizations. We show that this conflict arises from the use of Drake-like equations, which implicitly assume certainty regarding highly uncertain parameters. We examine these parameters, incorporating models of chemical and genetic transitions on paths to the origin of life, and show that extant scientific knowledge corresponds to uncertainties that span multiple orders of magnitude. This makes a stark difference. When the model is recast to represent realistic distributions of uncertainty, we find a substantial ex ante probability of there being no other intelligent life in our observable universe, and thus that there should be little surprise when we fail to detect any signs of it. This result dissolves the Fermi paradox, and in doing so removes any need to invoke speculative mechanisms by which civilizations would inevitably fail to have observable effects upon the universe.

“I would Never Fall for That”: The Use of an Illegitimate Authority to Teach Social Psychological Principles

“I would Never Fall for That”: The Use of an Illegitimate Authority to Teach Social Psychological Principles. Sally D Farley, Deborah H. Carson, Terrence Pope. May 2018. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325467243

Abstract: The current class activity explores attitudinal beliefs and behavioral responses of obedience to an illegitimate authority figure in an ambiguous situation. In Experiment 1, students either self- reported the likelihood that they would obey a request made by a stranger to surrender their cell phone, or were asked directly and in person by a confederate to relinquish their cell phone. The exercise revealed a marked discrepancy between how students predicted they would respond and how they actually did respond to the request. Across five classes, an average of 85.2% students obeyed the request. In Experiment 2, student learning was measured in addition to obedience. Although students exposed to the exercise had similar gains in learning as those exposed to a control condition, the mean obedience rate was a compelling 95.7%. Furthermore, students self- reported a greater willingness to obey the commands of an authority figure after learning about the Milgram study than before, thereby acknowledging their vulnerability to authority. We discuss the importance of including Milgram’s shock study in a comprehensive psychology curriculum, and provide recommendations for how this exercise might assist understanding of myriad social psychological principles including obedience, conformity, social influence, the attitude-behavior link, and the fundamental attribution error.


We Made History: Citizens of 35 Countries Overestimate Their Nation's Role in World History

We Made History: Citizens of 35 Countries Overestimate Their Nation's Role in World History. Franklin M. Zaromba et al. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jarmac.2018.05.006

Abstract: Following a survey asking many questions about world history, 6185 students from 35 countries were asked, “What contribution do you think the country you are living in has made to world history?” They provided an estimate from 0 to 100%, where 0% indicated that the country made no contribution to world history and 100% indicated that all contributions came from the country. U.S. students provided an estimate of 30%, quite high in some regards, but modest compared to other countries (e.g., 39% by Malaysians). Country-level estimates varied widely, ranging from 11% (Switzerland) to 61% (Russia). The total estimate (summing for all countries) was 1156%. We argue that students’ exaggerated estimates provide evidence for national narcissism and may be caused by several mechanisms, such as the availability heuristic—when students think about world history, they mostly think about the history of their country and thus assume their country must be important.

Keywords: Availability heuristic; Collective memory; Collective narcissism; Egocentrism; Myside bias; National narcissism

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Empirical evidence that there is social influence on private wine evaluations that is greater than the effect of experts’ ratings & prices combined; this influence comes mainly from the first few group members, & increases as a function of source uniformity

Omer Gokcekus, Miles Hewstone, and Huseyin Cakal (2018) In Vino Veritas? Social Influence on “Private” Wine Evaluations at a Wine Social Networking Site. Handbook of the Economics of Wine: pp. 423-437. https://doi.org/10.1142/9789813232754_0018

Abstract: An archival analysis of evaluations of wines provides a unique context in which to investigate social influence in a naturalistic setting. We conducted analyzes based on 6,157 notes about 106 wines posted by wine drinkers at a wine social networking site. Our findings suggest that social influence on private wine evaluations occurred by communicating a descriptive norm via written information. We provide empirical evidence that there is social influence on private wine evaluations that is greater than the effect of experts’ ratings and prices combined. This influence comes mainly from the first few group members, and increases as a function of source uniformity. Together with a lack of evidence that more credible or expert members have more influence, these findings suggest that influence in this setting is normative rather than informational. Results have implications for widespread effects of social influence on consumer and other websites where we are subject to the power of others’ opinions.

Probability of sharing political fake news online is higher in males than females & and older people more than youngers; democrat voters have less probability to share political fake news than independent voters (there is no statistical significance between democrats and republicans)

The Sociology of Fake News: Factors Affecting the Probability of Sharing Political Fake News Online. Manuel Goyanes, Ana Lavin. Media@LSE Working Paper #55, 2018, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325721782

Abstract: Drawing on recent literature on fake news, this working paper sheds light on the demographic factors and situational predictors that influence the probability to share political fake news through social media platforms. By using a representative sample of 1.002 US adults from the Pew Research Center, the results of the logistic regression analysis revealed relationships between the probability to share political fake news online and predictor variables such as demographics (age, gender, political orientation and income), and situational factors (perception of frequency of political fake news online, previous unconsciously fake news sharing and perception of responsibility [of different agents]). The research offers evidence regarding the prototype user that contributes to the spread of misinformation and the main implications that this phenomenon entails for professional journalism.

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By using a logistic regression analysis, nine main findings emerged: (1) the probability of sharing political fake news online is higher in males than females; (2) older people are more likely to share political fake news online than younger people; (3) people with lower incomes have more probability to share political fake news online; (4) democrat voters have less probability to share political fake news than independent voters (there is no statistical significance between democrats and republicans); (5) people who have a high perception of frequency of online fake news are more likely to share political fake news; (6) people who inadvertently have shared fake news have less probability to share political fake news online on purpose; (7) people who grant great responsibility to the public in preventing fake news stories from gaining attention are less likely to share political fake news; (8) people who grant great responsibility to social networking sites in preventing fake news stories from gaining attention are more likely to share political fake news stories and (9) democrat‐female voters are less likely to share political fake news than male‐independent voters.


Check also Lazy, not biased: Susceptibility to partisan fake news is better explained by lack of reasoning than by motivated reasoning. Gordon Pennycook, David G. Rand. Cognition, https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/06/susceptibility-to-partisan-fake-news-is.html
Susceptibility to partisan fake news is better explained by lack of reasoning (lazyness in thinking) than by motivated reasoning (partisanship)
Also Read All About It: The Politicization of “Fake News” on Twitter. John Brummette et al. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Volume: 95 issue: 2, page(s): 497-517. https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/06/fake-news-is-politicized-term-where.html
“Fake news” is a politicized term where conversations overshadowed logical & important discussions of the term; social media users from opposing political parties communicate in homophilous environments & use “fake news” to disparage the opposition & condemn real information

And: Fake news and post-truth pronouncements in general and in early human development. Victor Grech. Early Human Development, http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/09/fake-news-and-post-truth-pronouncements.html

And: Consumption of fake news is a consequence, not a cause of their readers’ voting preferences. Kahan, Dan M., Misinformation and Identity-Protective Cognition (October 2, 2017). Social Science Research Network, http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/10/consumption-of-fake-news-is-consequence.html

And: Barbera, Pablo and Tucker, Joshua A. and Guess, Andrew and Vaccari, Cristian and Siegel, Alexandra and Sanovich, Sergey and Stukal, Denis and Nyhan, Brendan (2018) Social media, political polarization, and political disinformation: a review of the scientific literature. William + Flora Hewlett Foundation, California. https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/04/a-great-deal-of-public-outcry-against.html
"A great deal of the public outcry against fake news, echo chambers and polarization on social media is itself based on misinformation"

Women expressed higher educational preferences during their years of maximum fertility, their demand choosiness decreased with age; men’s choosiness remained stable until the 40s, from which it increased until their peak years of career-earnings potential

Do Men and Women Know What They Want? Sex Differences in Online Daters’ Educational Preferences. Stephen Whyte et al. Psychological Science, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797618771081

Abstract: Using a unique cross-sectional data set of dating website members’ educational preferences for potential mates (N = 41,936), we showed that women were more likely than men to stipulate educational preferences at all ages. When members indifferent to educational level were excluded, however, the specificity of men’s and women’s preferences did differ for different age groups. That is, whereas women expressed more refined educational preferences during their years of maximum fertility, their demand specificity decreased with age. Men’s specificity, in contrast, remained stable until the 40s, when it was greater than that of postreproductive women, and then was higher during their peak years of career-earnings potential. Further, when individuals’ level of education was controlled for, women (compared with men) were more likely to state a higher minimum preference for educational level in a potential mate.

Keywords: parental-investment theory, educational preference, sex differences, online dating, mate choice

Friday, June 22, 2018

Populations that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) are peculiar due to the medieval church's set of rules governing descent, marriage, residence, etc., leading to the predominance of nuclear families and impersonal institutions

Schulz, Jonathan, Duman Barahmi-Rad, Jonathan Beauchamp, and Joseph Henrich. 2018. “The Origins of WEIRD Psychology.” PsyArXiv. June 22. doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/D6QHU

Abstract: Recent research not only confirms the existence of substantial psychological variation around the globe but also highlights the peculiarity of populations that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD). We propose that much of this variation arose as people psychologically adapted to differing kin-based institutions—the set of social norms governing descent, marriage, residence and related domains. We further propose that part of the variation in these institutions arose historically from the Catholic Church’s marriage and family policies, which contributed to the dissolution of Europe’s traditional kin-based institutions, leading eventually to the predominance of nuclear families and impersonal institutions. By combining data on 20 psychological outcomes with historical measures of both kinship and Church exposure, we find support for these ideas in a comprehensive array of analyses across countries, among European regions and between individuals with different cultural backgrounds.

Years of education significantly raises suicide mortality risk in the US after controlling for initial self-reported health; this is robust to regression specification, replication & the inclusion of covariates

The education–suicide mortality gradient. Adam Cook. Applied Economics Letters, https://doi.org/10.1080/13504851.2018.1489499

ABSTRACT: Using the fifth release of the National Longitudinal Mortality Survey, I examine the role of educational attainment and self-reported health on 6- and 11-year suicide mortality risk in the United States. I first replicate the original results reported by Hamermesh and Soss. . Then, augmenting the Hamermesh model with initial educational attainment and self-reported health status, I find that years of education significantly raises suicide mortality risk in the US after controlling for initial self-reported health. This result is robust to regression specification, replication and the inclusion of covariates.

KEYWORDS: Suicide, education, health, mortality, human capital
JEL CLASSIFICATION: I12, I21, C21

Humility does not necessarily lead to more pleasant or fulfilling experiences, but psychological well-being is conducive to cultivating humility

Concurrent and Temporal Relationships Between Humility and Emotional and Psychological Well-Being. Eddie M. W. Tong et al. Journal of Happiness Studies, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10902-018-0002-3

Abstract: The present research is a preliminary investigation of the concurrent and temporal relationships between humility and two forms of well-being: emotional and psychological well-being. Humility, emotional well-being and psychological well-being were measured twice 6 weeks apart. Humility correlated positively with psychological well-being at both time-points, but was positively related to emotional well-being at only one time-point. In addition, we used structural equation modeling to perform cross-lagged panel analyses, and found that psychological well-being predicted an increase in humility over time, but humility did not predict changes in psychological well-being over time. In addition, there were no cross-lagged associations between emotional well-being and humility. The results suggest that humility does not necessarily lead to more pleasant or fulfilling experiences, but psychological well-being is conducive to cultivating humility.

Those who kill in dreams have been more violent in the past than those who do not have such dreams, scored higher in neuroticism & aggression, reported more creative achievements, & had more creative achievements than persons without those dreams

Mathes, J., Renvert, M., Eichhorn, C., von Martial, S. F., Gieselmann, A., & Pietrowsky, R. (2018). Offender-nightmares: Two pilot studies. Dreaming, 28(2), 140-149. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/drm0000084

Abstract: Being the victim of an aggressor in nightmares is quite common for most persons, but there are also nightmares where the dream-self can become the offender. Two studies were conducted in two nonclinical samples of participants with frequent nightmares to investigate the so-called offender-nightmares. Study 1 served to assess the frequency of offender-nightmares in persons with frequent nightmares and the motives and actions in these dreams during a 28-day interval, whereas in Study 2, correlations to personality variables were investigated. The results indicate that the occurrence of offender-nightmares is not negligible; about 18% to 28% of the reported nightmares were classified as offender-nightmares. Most of the aggressive acts in these dreams were intentional, and killing a person was the most prominent offender’s act, with self-defense being the most common motive. Persons with offender-nightmares were also found to have been more violent in the past than persons without offender-nightmares and persons without nightmares. In addition, they scored higher in neuroticism and aggression, reported more creative achievements than persons without nightmares, and had more creative achievements than persons without offender-nightmares. The results suggest that offender-nightmares are rather common in people who frequently have nightmares and that these dreams are related to aggressiveness, creativity, and previous violent experiences.

Media use & gender relationship to nightmares

Gackenbach, J., Yu, Y., & Lee, M.-N. (2018). Media use and gender relationship to the nightmare protection hypothesis: A cross-cultural analysis. Dreaming, 28(2), 169-192. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/drm0000066

Abstract: Chinese and Canadian people answered surveys in their native languages about their self-construal, media use history, and dreaming experiences. This included reporting a recent dream. The nightmare protection thesis was investigated. Sex was found to be modulated by culture in terms of the relationship between types of media used and negative dream content. This was particularly evident for men in Greater China versus Canada along the self-construal dimension of interdependence. As both cultures reported no difference in independent self-construal, it was argued that it is the role of interdependence that accounts for male differences between cultures. In addition, each media type highlighted a different cultural value. Specifically, gaming seemed more consistent with independence, whereas social media was consistent with interdependence. When dreams were considered, source data were important. Specifically, when respondents answered in terms of their impressions of their dream history, high social media users reported more bad dreams across sex and country. However, for the video game groups, a 3-way interaction emerged where country, sex, and gaming evidenced different patterns of bad dream scores. The other self-report dream measure was emotions felt during a recent dream, with general negative and positive emotions showing group differences. Finally, the judges’ coding of negative elements of dreams, threat and aggression, was most sensitive to social media effects. Across all the threat simulation interactions where country was an independent variable, the male sex in each country was most likely to show opposite results from the female sex.